Preparing For Birth
Hypno-what? When I first heard of hypnobirthing I assumed it was some weird hippy thing I wouldn’t be able to take seriously. Of course I turned to the source of all knowledge, YouTube, to research, I stumbled across a mum I could relate to telling her positive story about hypnobirthing. I was intrigued. After falling into a long YouTube hole, including the weird and the hippy, I came out the other end determined to try hypnobirthing myself.
This led me to My Private Midwife. I am a university educated wanna-be health professional, so I wanted the course I did to be evidenced based and not too much of the fluffy stuff. Kate Bergamasco of My Private Midwife is a University of South Australia tutor and facilitator, a midwife and has a Masters of Nursing, so I knew I was in the right hands. But, don’t worry, you don’t need a degree in health to understand her course, she just knows her stuff and is easily and willingly able to back it up with evidence.
What is hypnobirthing, you’re probably wondering. Well Kate describes it as “a type of childbirth education class which promotes birth as a normal function for women. Classes empower parents with knowledge and confidence in the woman’s ability to birth.” Hypnobirthing uses education about the birth process, along with breathing techniques, scripts and hypnosis, affirmations and massage to help women calmly through labour. For me, I found the education, breathing techniques, affirmations and massage to be the most helpful. Knowing my breath and keeping calm was the healthiest thing for my baby was instrumental in me staying focused on breathing through each ‘surge’.
I love hypnobirthing and will tell anyone who will listen to me. I love it because it empowered me. It informed my choices and helped me and my husband stand up for them during labour. But to be honest, it was my husband who stood up for me in labour, I was more like “yeah whatever, get out of my face”, and so it empowered my husband too. Kate says, “[partners] help care providers understand what the birthing mother needs to achieve her calm positive birth.” My husband knew all the jargon and he was on the ball the whole time. He could, and did, liaise with doctors and midwifes throughout the whole process. This was the biggest benefit for us, it helped him know what to do during labour.
My labour plan before taking the hypnobirthing course was ‘no intervention unless medically necessary’ in bold and underlined. After my hypnobirthing course it was more like ‘no intervention unless medically necessary and I’ll be ok if interventions are necessary.’ And in my case they were. My baby did not want to come out and I was induced 10 days over her due date. Hypnobirthing helped me to understand what was happening during the induction and it helped me to stay calm and positive through the whole process. I didn’t end up having to have the oxytocin drip and started labour after one lot of gels and my waters being broken. This may or may not have been because of hypnobirthing, but I would say it definitely helped. Especially when “hypnobirthing parents are calm and confident, they are conditioned to release endorphins and other natural hormones to help them cope with this very normal function,” says Kate.
In the end, I managed to birth my beautiful, big (3.8 kg!!) baby daughter pain medication free. It was a fast and intense labour. I stayed calm for almost the whole time, with one minor freak out, which was quickly calmed by my prepared husband. Hypnobirthing enabled me to trust my body and my baby. I was able to work with my surges and breathe my baby out. I have never felt as strong and capable as I did delivering my daughter.
If you’re a soon-to-be mama, research hypnobirthing and better yet, book in with Kate at My Private Midwife. She “work[s] with parents to achieve the calm positive and supported experience that every parent should have.” Hypnobirthing empowered me through the most unknown and vulnerable time of my life, and I will always be thankful to Kate for that.